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James DeWolf and the Rhode Island Slave Trade

James DeWolf and the Rhode Island Slave Trade

by Cynthia Mestad Johnson

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An unsettling story of corruption and exploitation in the Ocean State from slave ships to politics.

Over thirty thousand slaves were brought to the shores of colonial America on ships owned and captained by James DeWolf. When the United States took action to abolish slavery, this Bristol native manipulated the legal system and became actively involved in Rhode Island politics in order to pursue his trading ventures. He served as a member of the House of Representatives in the state of Rhode Island and as a United States senator, all while continuing the slave trade years after passage of the Federal Slave Trade Act of 1808. DeWolf's political power and central role in sustaining the state's economy allowed him to evade prosecution from local and federal authorities--even on counts of murder. Through archival records, author Cynthia Mestad Johnson uncovers the secrets of James DeWolf.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625850157
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Series: American Heritage
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 845,996
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Cynthia Mestad Johnson earned an MA in history from California State University, San Marcos, and teaches U.S. history for the Oceanside Unified School District. She has been a guest speaker at the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society in Rhode Island for her historic research.

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Acknowledgements 11

Introduction 13

1 Murder on the High Seas 23

2 The Golden Rock 32

3 Laws and Economics 44

4 The Pious Brother 59

5 DeWolf's Nemesis 68

6 Indians and Kidnapping 75

7 Politics 84

8 Slave Trade Accelerates 92

9 Frustration with the Law 102

10 Slaves and Cuba 115

Epilogue: The Demise of a Slave Trader 127

Appendix: Slave Trade Laws 131

Notes 135

Bibliography 149

Index 157

About the Author 160

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